An ex-CIA officer was charged in Federal court with leaking classified information to the media, as the former operative has been accused of releasing the name and contact information of two of his colleagues, The Washington Times reported.
According to the newspaper, John Kiriakou was named on four counts of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the Espionage Act, along with making false statements to the CIA Publications Review Board. This effort came as he was trying to include classified information in a book that he was seeking to publish.
Authorities noted that Kiriakou told a reporter about the capture of al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah in 2002, a time when the information was still classified. The captured individual has been described as a key member of the organization who was a major recruiter and suspect in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to the Times.
"Safeguarding classified information, including the identities of CIA officers involved in sensitive operations, is critical to keeping our intelligence officers safe and protecting our national security," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement.
CBS News reported that Kiriakou allegedly revealed their identities in interviews, emails and conversations with reporters, a violation of the legally binding agreement that is required of intelligence agents.